Perfect Timing(9)

By: Brenda Jackson

The hospital’s elevator doors opened and Maxi stepped in and pushed the button that would take her to the fifth floor. She thought about the woman she was on her way to see.

Bessie Johnstone was someone Maxi had known all of her life; a woman who had been her grandmother’s closest friend. When Maxi’s grandmother had passed away fifteen years ago, Bessie had made herself Maxi’s surrogate grandmother. There was nothing Bessie wouldn’t do for Maxi and vice versa.

Moments later when Maxi entered Bessie’s hospital room she couldn’t help but smile. A broken hip had rendered Bessie immobile, and from the expression on the older woman’s face as she lay in bed looking out the window, she wasn’t too pleased about being forced to stay in one place. Anyone knowing Bessie knew just how much getting around meant to her.

“Okay, you can stop sulking,” Maxi said, making her presence known. “It doesn’t become you. Besides, this will teach you not to be hard-headed.”

Bessie made a snorting sound as she glanced at Maxi. “There was nothing wrong with me wanting to change that light bulb.”

Maxi frowned. “Yes, there was if you had to get on a ladder to do so. You could have waited for your neighbor Mr. Ellerby to come home. He would have gladly helped you. Or you could have called me. You know that I would have come by.”

“I don’t like being a bother, you know that.”

Maxi nodded. Yes, she did know it. “You deserve to be a bother, Ms. Bessie. Look at all the things you’ve done for so many people over the years. I don’t know a soul in Savannah who would not have come to your aid had you only asked.”

Bessie shook her head, knowing that was true. She had lived a long life and at seventy-four a number of people had touched her life and she had also touched theirs. Maxi Chandler was one of them. In her book, Maxi had always been a good child. Respectful to her elders, a good student and thoughtful and giving, which was evident by the beautiful arrangement of flowers she carried in her hand.

“Maybe my being here, although it seems I’ll be laid up a spell, is for a good cause. I think I found just the right man for you, Maxi.”

Maxi grinned as she placed the vase of flowers on a table near Bessie’s bed. Ever since Jason’s death, Bessie had tried fixing her up with a number of “right” men. There had been Charlie, the painter, Aaron, the meat cutter, Paul, the shoe salesman, and Theodore, the man who had recently moved to town and opened a slew of dry cleaners.

“I think this one is special, Maxi.”

Maxi lifted her brow as she took the chair opposite the bed. She decided not to tell Bessie that was what she’d said of the others. “And what makes this one special?”

Bessie’s face lit into a smile. “He has a child. He’s a divorced man with a twelve-year-old son he is raising by himself. I think that will solve all your problems.”

Maxi sighed. She didn’t have to ask Bessie what problems she was referring to. There wasn’t any doubt in Maxi’s mind that her mother had told Bessie about her visit with the doctor, so chances were Bessie knew of her pending surgery and what it meant.

“Just think, Maxi,” Bessie continued saying. “That’s a way to get the child you’ve always wanted but can’t have after your surgery. You know I never had any children of my own but raising Dasha and Martin was the next best thing. I never regretted ever having married Solomon and raising his children. In no time at all they had become my children.”

Maxi stared into space and after a few minutes she nodded. She knew from what she’d been told that when Bessie had been in her twenties, she had married a widower with two small children. Dasha and Martin, who were both in their late forties now and living up north, considered Bessie as their mother and would do anything for her.

“And after talking to the man,” said Bessie, breaking into Maxi’s thoughts, “it’s apparent that he’s lonely and would love to meet a decent woman. Raising a child alone isn’t easy, especially for a doctor.”

“A doctor?”

“Yes, dear. He’s my doctor. Although he’s a little older than what I had in mind for you—he’s probably in his late thirties—I think he’s the answer to your prayers and there’s no doubt in my mind that you’re going to like him.”

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